& cplSiteName &

Comcast's Cohen: Define Internet Fast Lanes

Mari Silbey
5/14/2014
50%
50%

Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen is certainly earning his pay these days.

Taking advantage of another forum to state his company's case on the open Internet debate, Cohen spoke at the inaugural MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit Wednesday morning. Covering issues that included paid prioritization, the interconnection market, usage-based billing, and market consolidation, Cohen made it clear that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) believes it is not only following the legal guidelines imposed by US regulators, but also the principles of the government's open Internet policy.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler provoked an immediate and largely negative reaction last month when he proposed letting broadband providers create network "fast lanes" for bandwidth-hogging Internet video companies such as Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX). But Cohen cautioned that the definition of a fast lane hasn't even been determined yet. (See Edgewater Reanimated by $5M for SDN/NFV.)

"We are not sure we know what paid prioritization, or what a fast lane is. No one's defined that," he said in this morning's conversation with telecom analyst Craig Moffett.

Moffett then clarified that Comcast's current commitment -- under the conditions that it accepted in exchange for approval of its acquisition of NBC Universal -- doesn't take paid prioritization into account at all. Cohen agreed. "Whatever it is," he said, "we're allowed to do it."

While Cohen was definitive about following the letter of the law, he was also careful to emphasize that Comcast isn't trying to get away with anything that goes against the spirit of the open Internet. He pointed out that even if strict Title II regulations were imposed on the broadband market, there would still be nothing to prohibit operators from providing different levels of service to different types of customers, just as they currently do when differentiating between business and residential subscribers. The premise of offering different types of service, in Cohen's view, doesn't violate the open Internet doctrine.

Speculating on Wheeler's upcoming Internet regulatory rulings, Cohen also guessed that the chairman would ultimately decide that paid prioritization deals have to be determined on a case-by-case basis, with "commercially unreasonable" agreements being deemed unlawful under regulatory review.

Neither Moffett nor Cohen spoke in detail about the current battle between Internet service providers and transit providers such as Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) and Cogent Communications Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: CCOI). Transit providers have argued that some ISPs are deliberately allowing peering points to degrade to force transit partners to pay for better service. However, Cohen did say that he believes the cost of transport should be proportionate to actual usage. He added that the right way to manage overall costs is to move to a usage-based billing model for consumers.

Comcast is currently running tests of usage-based billing in several markets, including a pilot in Atlanta that was started late last year. Cohen said that so far the Atlanta trial has had no effect on about 98% of customers. He also argued that if the model is adopted universally in the future, he believes the same trend would hold true, with very few subscribers needing to pay monthly overage fees for exceeding a capacity threshold.

The entire conversation at the MoffettNathanson event comes within the context of both Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), and the FCC's plan to consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the subject of open Internet regulations. (See FCC's Wheeler: 'Internet Will Remain an Open Pathway' and In Cable We (Anti)trust.)

Although the rhetoric level is high, there are significant issues being hashed out within the public sphere. The debate continues tomorrow at the next FCC Open Commission Meeting.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
ITProjec39942
50%
50%
ITProjec39942,
User Rank: Lightning
10/10/2016 | 1:07:30 AM
no effect on about 98% of customers
"Cohen said that so far the Atlanta trial has had no effect on about 98% of customers. He also argued that if the model is adopted universally in the future, he believes the same trend would hold true, with very few subscribers needing to pay monthly overage fees for exceeding a capacity threshold."

That would entirely depend on Comcast adjusting its caps to scale with usage demand, though. And since the entire purpose of imposing these caps and meters is to protect TV revenues from Internet video, I have an aching suspicion that won't be happening.
I disagree with your entire premise. Verizon is paying its bandung content providers to provide content jogja on its FiOS TV network. I am assuming SBC will pay its content providers to provide video over Lightspeed.

Google is not a content provider, but semarang more of a content aggregator. A way of finding actual content. The Google Business bekasi model is to be paid by content providers to be found through Google.

Example, you can "google" Light Reading bogor and find this site. But Light Reading is the content and not Google.

From that cikarang standpoint, the RBOC argument over QoS and making people pay for access to their customers is really a way to charge cirebon their customers more money. As at the jakarta end of the day businesses would pay Google more for karawang ads and in turn charge their customers more. If a click-fraud application comes around in that time, then Google will surabaya be out of the pay-per-click business.

ISPs are also not content providers but common carriers.

 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/15/2014 | 1:58:40 PM
Re: What am I missing?
It's clear that there's a great deal of short term profitability potential for carriers making sweetheart deals for their own content and for providers. In the long term, a neutral net makes the Internet more desirable and useful and therefore creates more profitability potential for everyone. 
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/15/2014 | 1:18:51 PM
Re: What am I missing?
My take on Cohen's comments is that he's trying to be politically correct at the moment, but still leaving the door open for fast lane charges. On one hand he says he's for open internet but on the other says he's waiting on the FCC rulings and Comcast will be entitlted like every other provider to adopt new pricing,
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/14/2014 | 7:52:05 PM
What am I missing?
I am hugely suspicious on the subject of net neutrality, but Comcast's proposal seems reasonable. Charge everybody based on usage. As long as everybody's charged the same rate -- but not necessarily the same amount -- then usage-based charges are perfectly fair, reasonable, and preserve competition and openness. 
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/14/2014 | 4:49:14 PM
Cohen
"Cohen said that so far the Atlanta trial has had no effect on about 98% of customers. He also argued that if the model is adopted universally in the future, he believes the same trend would hold true, with very few subscribers needing to pay monthly overage fees for exceeding a capacity threshold."

That would entirely depend on Comcast adjusting its caps to scale with usage demand, though. And since the entire purpose of imposing these caps and meters is to protect TV revenues from Internet video, I have an aching suspicion that won't be happening.
From The Founder
Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
The Urgency of Commercial 5G Services

4|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


The progress of 5G has been closely monitored in the industry. At the 2017 Brooklyn 5G Summit, the sense of urgency for a commercial 5G launch had started to surface among operators.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
How Diversity Helps Comcast Mirror Its Customer Base

4|26|17   |   2:55   |   (0) comments


Diversity brings innovation, creative ideas and a way to reflect the broad spectrum of your customer base, Comcast Director of Customer Experience Jenelle Champlin says.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mobile Operators & Video

4|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ovum's Ed Barton discusses the latest mobile operator strategies for mobile video.
LRTV Custom TV
Infinera Introduces Instant Network

4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
LRTV Custom TV
NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Impact of Video

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
LRTV Custom TV
Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at MWC 2017

4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
LRTV Custom TV
China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom, for a discussion of what NFV brings.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Surprise! AT&T Markets 4G Advances as '5G Evolution'
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
Did Verizon Outbid AT&T for Straight Path?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
First Year TIPs the Scale Toward Success
Denise Culver, 4/24/2017
Ericsson's Q1 Even Worse Than Feared
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/25/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.